The Corrections Department is preparing to build more field hospitals in prisons amid concerns over rising COVID-19 infections among inmates.
Of 3,095 new cases reported by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) yesterday, 877 were found in prisons. The total cases linked to the prison cluster stood at 4,216.
The outbreak has caused alarm among families and relatives of some 330,000 inmates at 143 prisons across the country. Veerakit Harnparipan, deputy director-general of the Corrections Department, said yesterday the department has made preparations since early May to handle the third wave.
Five buildings at Klong Prem Prison have been modified into field hospitals to take about 500 COVID-19 infected inmates to be sent from seven prisons including Bangkok Remand Prison and the Central Women’s Correctional Institution.
He said the prison zones are being rearranged to make room for the infected inmates and about 1,000 beds will be added.
According to Dr Harnparipan, COVID-19 control measures are being intensified further with the isolation period of new inmates to be extended from 14 days to 21 days and two tests, on the first and last day of the isolation.
He said the measures are necessary as new inmates arrive every day and each day many have left the facilities for court appointments, which poses an infection risk.
Severe cases are referred to the department’s medical facility and those with moderate symptoms will be prescribed the anti-viral drug Favipiravir, he said, adding the vaccine will be first given to elderly inmates and those with health issues.